It was a long day at work. A typical Monday .
It was the anniversary of my gramma’s death. No one at work knew. I wore my ring I had had made with a stone from her wedding ring and she consumed my thoughts.
She loved coffee so on my way in to work, I stopped at Starbucks and savored every sip – a quiet tribute.
After work, I got home and changed into running clothes – seeking the solitude only a run and the road can give.
It was a gray afternoon with intermittent rain but that wouldn’t keep me away. I needed time out of the house, away from work, just me, the road, my music and the soft sound of my Asics splashing through the puddles that had been pooling all day. I was tired. Every muscle in my body begged me to stop but I carried on lost in my thoughts, my memories. I was enveloped in the melancholy of the music, the dark skies and the longing for a hug from the one woman that wasn’t able.
As I splashed through a giant puddle, I smelled something familiar. A smokey, mossy, fishy, musty, wet smell; the smell of the cottage.
When we (my brother, cousins and I) were little, we spent many a weekend up in my grandparents cottage on Glen Lake, a small beautiful lake near Traverse City in northern Michigan. On days we weren’t swimming in the lake or trekking up Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, we walked through the woods, slathered in bug spray looking for raspberries, money plants and other treats the forest kept hidden. Days spent at the cottage were magical. We spent time with family and I remember ordinary mornings sitting on the deck, overlooking the late, eating Cap’n Crunch next to Gramma, while she drank her coffee in her quilted robe.
On rainy days – we’d have to entertain ourselves and mostly found ourselves outside dodging raindrops or rooting around the old shed. The rainy smell of Up North is unique – not sure what makes it that way, perhaps the fresh air, the glacial soils, my unspoiled memories. Whatever it is – it’s different from downstate. That smell wafted through my run today and on any other day, I wouldn’t have noticed it. Wouldn’t have cared. Wouldn’t have paused to inhale it’s sweet, rainy, musty scent.
But at that moment – I knew that it was meant for me. It was the hug I’d been longing for all day. It was the hope in faith realized. The tears started escaping from my eyes and I let them roll down, warm on my hot, pink cheeks.
And then – as if on cue – the sky opened and it started pouring – I tasted the salty tears mixed with the cold, fresh rain. I pressed on – running a bit slower to soak up this sort of divine intervention – this small gift.
I cherish that moment. It was a small moment out of a large, long day. I am reminded that even though she’s gone – she remains. A part of me, a part of my mom, a part of my brother, a part of my cousins. We are all shaped and molded from her and proudly so.
So today – on the anniversary of her passing from this life, I cry, laugh, reminisce and feel grateful for the time I had with her. I look forward to the small moments that remind me she is not completely gone and the moments that make life a little less ordinary.